As an entrepreneurial mother of three young children, some days, bedtime just can’t get here fast enough. Not because I need a break from the kids, but because I work what seems to be all the time and I need a break!
Thanks to my smart mobile device, I can work from anywhere. This can be a blessing and a curse. It means that my email keeps pinging, texts keep dinging, tweets keep chirping and the phone keeps ringing. Being constantly connected can be exhausting and very taxing on my family’s relationship dynamics.
There are days I catch myself replying to emails while I should be watching my daughter do her homework. Okay, in my defense, she is slower than molasses. But then, I have to look at what I’m doing and remember these simple words: I work to live, not live to work!
So how do we begin to “work to live”? How can we make that break and step away when we feel like there are too many deadlines, too many people counting on us to “make it happen”? And believe me, when you are the boss everyone is waiting for you to make things happen.
Read Related: Save Yourself From Toxic Burnout!
And then…I disconnect. Usually right before I see a mental breakdown about to happen. Seriously, it’s like a 2-year-old is about to have a tantrum inside my head. When that starts to happen, here’s how I pull the plug and take time off, even if my subconscious is telling me that I can’t.
- Weekend Warrior: One way we like to plan longer getaways is by making them into a long weekend. By taking one day off from work, I’m actually getting four long and productive ones in a row. Sometimes my husband and I don’t go anywhere but it’s nice to be home alone while the kids are at school.
- Ask for Help: As the CEO of Momables, when I’m in the test kitchen cooking up recipes to turn in to menus, I ask my part-time assistant if she can scan my emails, check tweets and listen to voicemails. This way, tasks can be prioritized and I don’t feel like I have to be constantly connected.
- Reward Yourself: Much like the holiday season in retail, most businesses have their “busy seasons” where work, no matter what you do, completely consumes your life. A great time to plan time off is after your busiest time of year. It will recharge and rejuvenate your spirits.
- Staycation: Planning big getaways isn’t always in the cards because of child logistics, finances or time. So we plan staycations. Enjoy a day or two in your own town—even stay in a local hotel so that you feel as if you’re miles from home, getting a much deserved relaxation and retreat.
- Unplug: You’ll never truly get away from work unless you unplug. Turn off the cell phone. Turn off the laptop. You choose whether or not to let work consume your life. Make it a point to unplug and focus on your family, even if it’s only for one hour of homework time. Yes, your kids notice—mine do!
- Save Up: Another thing that looms over us when it comes to taking time off work is money. Plan ahead and save so you can pay cash for your getaway. There’s no guilt because the money is already there and accounted for. No one wants to go on vacation and have it ruined by a huge credit card bill one month later. Try putting just $10 or $20 per week away and you’ll have a nice vacation nest egg built-up in no time.
- Spread It Out: Spread your vacation time out throughout the year. Don’t plan all your time off in the fall, or you’ll feel like you have to wait forever to get any time away. If you’re prepared and have vacation days planned throughout the year, when you get back from one vacation you’ll already know when the next is, and you’ll have something to look forward to already.
Getting away from work is mostly a mindset. Unless you are a solo entrepreneur, ask yourself: If I were to step away and unplug for a little while, will things come crumbling down? More than likely, they won’t. Go ahead, give yourself permission to live a little—even if you don’t think you have the time.